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Intrinsic Motivation: 7 Things That Will Motivate You More than Money

Intrinsic motivation is a motivation theory that we can accomplish more when we have personal benefit from doing something. Intrinsic means inside; which means something has to have a purpose for us personally in order to motivate us to do it.

Intrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation comes from within. It comes from things like self-improvement, passions, and a sense of meaning. Without purpose internally, we are empty and without internal motivation. Conversely, extrinsic motivation comes from outside rewards such as money and validation. Both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can guide us to behave in a certain way. But in order to motivate yourself to get anything you want in life, you are going to need to find a way to intrinsically motivate yourself.

woman riding bike no handle bars

Intrinsic motivation tips

1. Fun first

Fun is the internal motivation that never gets old. Things may be the most fun when we are children, but as we grow older our interpretation of fun changes. It always motivates us.

2. Focus on the journey

The best way to stay focused on a goal of yours is to have the perspective of a lone lost wanderer. It's not your destination, but the journey that matters in the end.

3. Your decisions only

Life is more fun when we make our own independent decisions. Part of being an adult means finding intrinsic motivation that others cannot find for you.

4. Set goals

Goal-setting is not only necessary, but required in order to keep your motivation strong for future endeavors. You don't need to write them down, but you must memorize and internalize them.

5. Reward success

Extrinsic rewards are effective in motivating us. Not as well as intrinsic rewards that come from ourselves; but external validation is always welcome as a part of personal growth.

6. Use punishment

Punishment is a de-motivator, and a strong one. Punishment will discourage us from future bad behavior, so that we can become motivated to display appropriate behaviors. Punishment is most effective when used early in our lives.

7. Be optimistic

Optimism is the fuel we need when things aren't going the way we want in life. Emotional support helps, but true intrinsic motivation is embodied by your positive outlook on life.

Intrinsic Motivation is the Most Powerful Factor that Drives Us to Accomplish Things that Were Previously Thought Impossible

It is intrinsic motivation that is primarily responsible for everything we have achieved so far in life. If extrinsic motivation was the icing, then intrinsic motivation is the cake

1. Fun comes first

woman taking selfie

The biggest intrinsic motivators come in the form of enjoyment. Do you enjoy doing it? Then why are you doing it? These are the questions we ask ourselves before doing something. If there is no extrinsic reward behind something that isn't fun, such as promise of money or power, then we have little motivation to do it. Such is life, where most people don't want to do charitable deeds out of the goodness of their hearts. But it will always remain true: fun comes first. Fun is the most clear intrinsic motivation factor driving us to do the things we do. Life is short, and few things in life are certain, so just get out there and have some fun.

Let loose

Fun can really motivate us to do some really good things. We work and think best when we are enjoying ourselves in the moment with no worries on our mind. Stress often tends to make our muscles tense up and we don't concentrate very well. Having fun has the effect of releasing us from our unneeded thoughts and anxiety. We can simply let loose and live in the moment and not have a fear in our minds. Fun should always be our intrinsic behavior of choice; whether it comes to work or play or friends or life.

2. Focus on the journey instead of the destination

white van

We often make the mistake of being too focused on the reward out of something to truly enjoy the process it takes to get that reward. The more difficult something is to achieve, the more rewarding that the whole process was to achieve it. The journey matters more than the outcome. Reward cooperation and teamwork instead of the rewards. Celebrate each other's progress and set the standards higher and higher. This is what intrinsic reinforcement is all about. It's nice to be validated for our hard work, but what really drives us to achieve great things comes from within ourselves.

Enjoy the good and the bad

Life is more simple when we break in down into steps instead of a long process towards getting somewhere. That's where having short-term goals comes in handy. When we can enjoy ourselves in the moment instead of always thinking about the future, we function better and accomplish more. Intrinsic motivation management is strong when we live simply and think minimally. Thinking about things outside of our control only slows us down and complicates matters further. The journey towards our goals is a long one and should be enjoyed for the good times and the bad. The reason why the journey is much more valuable than the destination is because of the memories you will have. By the time you will have reached what you've been searching for, it won't mean anything if you didn't challenge yourself to get there. The effort you put into it will have all been worth it in the end.

3. Make your own choices

Make your own choices because nobody can make them for you. Once we turn 18, it is time for us to start making our own decisions in life. That is what being an adult is all about. By making our own choices, we are in control and that motivates us to do better for ourselves. The less control someone has over their own life, the less motivated they are. This is why it is important to make the choices in your life that benefit you the most. Nobody knows what you want better than you do. It is up to you to get up, go out, and get it.

4. Set Goals and Track Your Progress

Setting goals is intrinsic motivation tip number one. Never stop setting new standards for the way you live your life, in order to keep growing and learning. Motivation is gained by the goals we set for ourselves. Likewise, tracking our progress is important to keep us focused on our goals. We want tangible results, so setting realistic goals that can be achieved is the way to stay motivated for a long time. For those of us with poor memory, it can help to write your goals, progress, and results down in order to repeat successes and avoid failures.

Become the Best at What You Do

Some people don't need to be told this, because they are natural go-getters and breathe success every morning when they wake up. If you want to become the best at whatever it is you do, then you must have goals set in place. The world is a competitive place. There are always challengers out there ready to take your title. But someone with true intrinsic motivation understands that they are the biggest obstacle in the way of themselves and success. Being the best means mastering your craft and never being too proud of your past accomplishes. To someone intrinsically motivated, only the present and the future is on their mind.

5. Reward Success Often

We need little rewards to keep us going. Whether they are extrinsic or intrinsic rewards, we are seeking instant gratification. We'd all be lying if we said it wasn't a big motivating factor in our decisions in life. It's okay to reward yourself for your successes. You deserve it for your hard work. But be careful about rewarding yourself or others when nothing of value was achieved. Accomplishing nothing and getting rewards for that behavior only feed mediocre results in the future.

Use Extrinsic Rewards Occasionally to Drive Intrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic rewards can sometimes drive our intrinsic motivation to do better, in small amounts. Our inner motivation comes from our desire to do better, combined with the external rewards from others. A pat on the back is a simple and effective way to let someone else they are doing a good job. Extrinsic motivators can have a subtle effect of reinforcing our good behavior.

6. Punishment is a strong motivator

Punishment is an indication of when we are doing something wrong, and a push away from doing that behavior. Punishments come in many forms, are a de-motivational tool used for future progress. Don't be afraid to punish others, and don't be afraid of taking punishment for yourself. We are all humans and we make mistakes. In order to learn from mistakes and do better in the future, we can gain intrinsic motivation from negative reinforcement.

Not all the time

Punishment shouldn't be used all the time, but should serve as a lesson to those who cross the line. It can also be used against yourself to motivate yourself internally to get better. That's why having mentors, teachers, coaches, and parents pushing you through punishments is often the most effective strategy so that you don't keep making the same mistakes over again. It may seem like a harsh truth, but punishment works in the motivation process.

7. Optimism is the best medicine

Nothing like a little bit of optimism to keep us intrinsically motivated to keep fighting. When things seem hopeless, just remember your destination and how hard you've worked for it up to this point. The right mindset can do wonders for someone with low intrinsic motivation. When things are at their worst and you have hit rock bottom, optimism can pick you back up. Don't underestimate the value of supportive family and friends in your future endeavors.

Choose the right attitude

The best intrinsic motivation factors you can give yourself is a good dose of optimism. Having a glass half full mentality will serve you will when you feel like you hit rock bottom. Nobody can make you see the light but yourself in times of hardship. In life there will always be ups and downs. It's up to you which kind of mindset you will have: positive or negative. Whichever you choose, is the journey that you will experience and the destination. It's always within your control, if you so choose.

Intrinsic factors of motivation

We are impulsive creatures sometimes; we are slaves to our own desires. We have motivation to fill our most basic needs, then we want more. It is human nature to always strive for perfection, which is what makes life such a beautiful thing. We are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. It all begins with intrinsic factors which build the foundation, then extrinsic rewards along the way that keep our eyes on the main prize.

By Kacia Nall

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